With volunteers ready, North Charleston group has helped over 13,000 people get the food they need

"We have a severe situation"


North Charleston’s Community Resource Center is keeping up the fight amid the coronavirus pandemic, distributing crate after crate of food to those in need, and in today’s economic climate, that can be just about anyone.

“We have a severe situation,” says Louis Smith, the center’s executive director. “In our food line, we have people saying, ‘I never thought I would be in this line.’ That’s the kind of people this is impacting, what I call the solid middle class, and you can’t mess with them because they’re the backbone of America.”

Every Wednesday, he and his team of volunteers and partners set up stacks of crates full of fresh produce and goods to be organized and sorted into boxes with at least three days worth of food. Around noon, cars begin lining the street out front, often wrapping around the block waiting.

Serving more than 13,000 people in April by their count and gearing up to do the same in May, Smith and his crew have their workflow down pat. Volunteers from the Omega Psi Phi fraternity helped move crates of food to people’s vehicles Wednesday morning.

“We are constantly in service,” says Adonis Jenkins. “We understand that it is each of our duty to help those in need. We live by a motto, ‘Lifting as we climb,'” he says. “I give my hand to that guy, that woman, that child, and bring them up to where we want to have them be as well.”

The idea of community support and service is recognized by many of those who come to collect their food. One of those who stopped by, Raynard Baker, said that though he hasn’t felt some of the more potent blights of the coronavirus, it’s his community that’s suffering.

“Well, I’m unemployed, so it’s affected me personally as far as income is concerned,” Baker explains. “But with this pandemic, people need food, people are unemployed, and the impact in the community as a whole was much stronger.”

Located near North Charleston’s Horizon Village at , the CRC’s programs have grown over the past year to a point that Smith describes as an explosion.

[location-1]

“We were here because of the food desert,” Smith remembers. “But now with this pandemic, we are not just feeding the needy, we are feeding Charleston.”

For Smith and some of his partners, it wasn’t enough just to provide food to those without. But they wanted those stopping by to be sent home with the means to create nutritional meals out of what they find in their boxes.

“The Lowcountry Food Bank has been extremely good for us, and we certainly have enough stuff to meet the needs. We try to give them enough for at least three days. We want them to have enough food, but we also want them to have nutrition.”

Support the Charleston City Paper

We’ve been covering Charleston since 1997 and plan to be here with the latest and Best of Charleston for many years to come. In a time where local journalism is struggling, the City Paper is investing in the future of Charleston as a place where diverse, engaging views can flourish. We can't do it without our readers. If you'd like to support local, independent journalism:

UP NEXT FROM

FEATURE

Before You Go:

Connelly Hardaway

COVID-19 updates: The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced TK new cases of the coronavirus today, bringing the state total to TK. All nursing homes getting tested: This week DHEC announced that it will test all residents and staff members at nursing homes in the state for COVID-19. DHEC director Rick […]


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Gaillard Center’s 2020-2021 season features Broadway musicals, chamber orchestras, and an iconic dance company

While so much of the world has seemed to come to a standstill, area arts organizations and venues continue to plan for their upcoming seasons — offering a shimmer of hope at the end of this coronavirus tunnel. The Gaillard Center promises “10 sensational performances” during this upcoming season, including two Lowcountry Broadway premieres.

Brookgreen Gardens opens new outdoor exhibit, “Southern Light,” on May 15

Murrell’s Inlet’s Brookgreen Gardens is currently open, 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. And, after its original opening date was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bruce Munro’s massive outdoor light installation, Southern Light, will open to the public on Fri. May 15.

Sam Reynolds

Sam Reynolds, a Lowcountry folk songwriter who now resides in Vermont, released a collection of soft, subtle, and stirring piano instrumentals on May 1 titled Broken Tulips.

Charleston Wine + Food Festival says 2020 event had $19.9 million local economic impact

A survey by the College of Charleston reports that 54% of the 28,000 Charleston Wine + Food attendees were local.